Google+ boosts photo, chat features

The social network is flexing new photo and video muscles to lure in content creators. Also, Amazon sells cheap e-books with the MatchBook program.

CNET Update is always Auto Awesome:

This episode of Update offers a quick overview of the new features on the Google+ social network . The changes rolling out this week include updates to the Hangouts chat service, allowing users to send animated GIFs, SMS messages, and maps of their current location. Hangouts also improved video chats with the ability to enhance the quality of webcam video.

The bulk of the changes to Google+ center around photos. The iOS app will be updated with automatic syncing in the background and can upload full-resolution images. Search is smart enough to detect some objects in your photo, like a sunset or snowman. And new Auto Awesome tools offer some creative ways to edit a photo or turn a series of shots into a short movie. You can see an example of how the movie feature works on Google's blog post about the changes.

Also in today's rundown, learn how to get discounted digital versions of print books bought from Amazon, with the new Kindle MatchBook program.

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